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News01 Jan 2018

2017 IAAF World Challenge review


Caster Semenya breaking the 600m world best in Berlin (© ISTAF / Camera 4)

Kingston, 20 May

Twenty-year old Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands produced the outstanding result of the meeting as he won the 400m hurdles in 47.80 – a national record that remained the fastest time run in 2017.

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson produced an impressive 200m victory on home soil in 22.09. That put her top of the early-season world lists in the longer sprint just a week after moving to the top of the 2017 times for the 100m following her 10.78 clocking at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai.

Kyron McMaster in Kingston


Novlene Williams-Mills brought the home crowd to its feet with an emotional victory in the women’s 400m, clocking 50.54. The 35-year-old, who had operations for breast cancer in 2012 and 2013, had planned to retire at the end of the season.

“It feels good to come home and run a fantastic race one last time,” she said after her first win in the event in five years. “I think I’ve done enough for the past 10 years and it’s time to walk away.”

The men’s 200m was won by Canada’s triple Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse in 20.14.

Yohan Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion, earned his first victory of the season in 9.93.

Sharika Nelvis won the 100m hurdles in 12.64 ahead of US compatriot Jasmin Stowers, who clocked 12.68. Jamaica’s world champion Danielle Williams was third in 12.78, equalling her season’s best.

In the men’s pole vault Olympic bronze medallist Sam Kendricks took his fifth outdoor victory this season in as many starts with a 5.80m clearance, adding 20 centimetres to the meeting record.

Kawasaki, 21 May

Liu Shiying broke the Asian javelin record with 66.47m. The 23-year-old Chinese athlete, silver medallist at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, beat the previous continental mark of 66.13m set by her compatriot Lyu Huihui at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

Liu set the tone for Chinese athletes who captured four events at the Todoroki Stadium, where more than 15,000 spectators had gathered.

Liu Shiying in Kawasaki


In the long jump, world bronze medallist Wang Jianan produced an 8.14m winning effort.

Wu Ruiting won the triple jump with 17.18m, the 21-year-old’s first leap beyond 17 metres.

And in the men's 110m hurdles, Xie Wenjun, facing a -1.8m/s wind, clocked 13.51.

Gwen Berry, the US record-holder, opened the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with victory in 74.13m. Britain’s Sophie Hitchon was next best with 73.97m.

Two weeks after throwing 93.90m in Doha, Germany's Olympic javelin champion Thomas Rohler earned another win with 86.55m.

World and Olympic long jump champion – and sometime sprinter – Tianna Bartoletta arrived seeking a third successive long jump/100m double here.

A best of 6.79m won the long jump for the US athlete. But Bartoletta could only manage third in the 100m, clocking 11.47 in a race where Ivet Lalova-Collio completed a double win of her own. The Bulgarian won in 11.40, 90 minutes after taking the 200m victory in 22.98.

São Bernardo do Campo, 3 June

Brazilian shot putter Darlan Romani produced a South American record of 21.82m in São Bernardo do Campo, near São Paulo, beating the mark of 21.56m set in 2013 by Argentina's Germán Lauro.

Darlan Romani with his South American record numbers in São Bernardo do Campo


The packed stadium of the Arena Caixa witnessed a superb display from Poland’s world and Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk, who began her IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge campaign with three throws beyond 75 metres, including a 78.00m winning effort. It extended the world record-holder’s winning run to 34.

Brazil's Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz da Silva failed to shine on his competitive return to home soil, having won in Rio with a South American record of 6.03m. Braz could only manage 5.40m and second place behind compatriot Augusto Dutra da Silva, who cleared 5.60m.

"We are confident that my results will be consistent soon," said the Olympic champion.

Hengelo, 11 June

Sifan Hassan gave her Dutch fans at the FBK Games a show by improving her own world lead as she won the 1500m in 3:56.14.

Maria Lasitskene also set a world-leading mark. The world high jump champion won the event with 1.94m before clearing 2.00m and a personal best of 2.04m.

South Africa’s Olympic long jump silver medallist Luvo Manyonga produced a stupendous performance in winning with a final-round best of 8.62m.

Manyonga had jumps of 8.60m, 8.40m and 8.46m before his finishing flourish. It was the first time since 2009 that a long jumper had achieved two jumps of 8.60m or farther within the same series.

Sifan Hassan on her way to winning the 1500m in Hengelo


Hassan’s home win was soon backed up by other Dutch successes as world 200m champion Dafne Schippers won the 100m in 11.08 and Thijmen Kupers won the 800m in a personal best of 1:44.99.

Bahrain’s Alsadik Mikhou clocked a personal best of 3:31.34 to win the men’s 1500m in a world-leading time.

Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius won the discus with 66.34m, defeating Fedrick Dacres, top of the 2017 list, who managed 65.71m.

The Ethiopian federation incorporated their trials for the World Championships within the FBK Games.

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, 2012 Olympic silver medallist Sofia Assefa broke her own national record with 9:07.06.

In the men’s race, world U20 bronze medallist Getnet Wale won with a world U18 best of 8:12.28.

Both 10,000m races produced world-leading marks. The women’s event was won by world silver medallist Gelete Burka in 30:40.87.

World cross-country bronze medallist Abadi Hadis won the men’s race. The teenaged Olympian clocked 27:08.26 to finish ahead of Jemal Mekonnen (27:09.08) and 10,000m debutant Yenew Alamirew (27:19.86).

The unheralded Samuel Tefera won the 1500m trial race in a personal best of 3:33.78, finishing 0.10 ahead of national record-holder Aman Wote.

Turku, 13 June

Poland’s Pawel Fajdek raised the temperature on a damp day during the first IAAF World Challenge meeting to be held at the Paavo Nurmi Stadium.

The 55th Paavo Nurmi Games, held on the 120th birthday of the nine-time Olympic gold medallist, received a special gift from two-time world champion Fajdek as he produced the best hammer throw of the season, 82.40m, to the obvious approval of a near 12,000 crowd.

Pawel Fajdek, winner of the hammer in Turku


Germany’s Olympic javelin champion Thomas Röhler defeated compatriot Johannes Vetter with an effort of 88.26m. Vetter’s best was 87.88m, while 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott was third with 86.48m. Home favourite Tero Pitkämäki managed 83.95m for fifth place.

European champion Tatsiana Khaladovich won the women’s javelin with a stadium record of 65.03m. Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts threw a personal best of 64.06m to finish second.

Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev also set a stadium record of 10.02 in the men’s 100m. And a third stadium record fell to Garfield Darien of France, who clocked 13.22 in the 110m hurdles.

France’s pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie won with 5.81m, and world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene earned victory with 1.95m.

Ostrava, 27-28 June

A capacity crowd of more than 15,000 filled the Mestsky Stadium to mark Usain Bolt’s ninth and final appearance on the track – but on an evening of high emotion, the stand-out performer was Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk, who set a world best of 30.81 for the rarely-run 300m.

The South African’s effort surpassed not only Michael Johnson’s world mark of 30.85 from 2000 but also Bolt’s 30.97 meeting record.

“I’m just pleased and grateful for this big achievement,” said Van Niekerk, whose run came eight days after a 9.94 personal best in the 100m.

Wayde van Niekerk wins the 300m at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava


Bolt, who won the 100m in 10.06, commented: “It wasn’t a good race and I’m not happy with the time,” he said. But looking ahead to the IAAF World Championships, he added: “I’ll be fine.”

The meeting that had hosted Bolt most often in his career put on a farewell show for him which included a rendition of the Jamaican national anthem, celebratory music and fireworks.

Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor won in a meeting record of 17.57m.

The men’s 10,000m was won in 27:12.09 by Britain’s multiple world and Olympic champion Mo Farah, who like Bolt was bringing his track career to a halt in 2017.

Germany’s Olympic champion Thomas Rohler won with a 91.53m throw in the second round and followed up with 91.02m. Compatriot Johannes Vetter was second with 87.88m.

Kenya’s Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha finished fourth in a 1000m won by compatriot Nicholas Kipkoech in 2:18.51, with home runner Jakub Holusa 0.09 behind him.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay set a meeting record of 4:00.96 in the women’s 1500m.

In the 110m hurdles, France’s Darien Garfield won in 13.09 to go second on the 2017 world list. Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz collected her eighth successive 100m hurdles win in 12.72.

Anita Wlodarczyk earned her 37th successive hammer win with a 79.72m meeting record. On the men’s side, world champion Pawel Fajdek added more than a metre to his own world lead with an 83.44m effort – also a stadium record.

Madrid, 14 July

Isaac Makwala became the first man in history to run a 200m within 20 seconds and a 400m within 44 seconds on the same day, winning both events in the Moratalaz Stadium on an evening when temperatures were close to 40C.

The sprinter from Botswana first won the 400m in 43.92.

“I’m satisfied, but I know I can run faster,” Makwala said in the 75-minute gap between events.

He then won the 200m in a personal best of 19.77, taking 0.19 off his best and breaking the meeting record of 19.92 set in 1987 by Carl Lewis. He also replaced world and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk at the top of the season’s 200m list.

Cuba’s 18-year-old Maykel Masso won the long jump in a continental U20 record of 8.33m.

Poland’s Pawel Fajdek earned his 10th consecutive hammer victory with a best of 80.82m.

Berlin, 27 August

World and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya set a world best for the rarely-run 600m at the 76th edition of the ISTAF meeting in the Olympic Stadium.

The South African clocked 1:21.77 to improve the previous best of 1:22.63 set 20 years earlier by Cuba's Ana Fidelia Quirot. Semenya's performance was the 19th world record or best set at the ISTAF.

Ajee Wilson of the United States also dipped under Quirot's standard, clocking 1:22.39 for a North American best.

"I won my first world title here in Berlin, so this city is special for me," Semenya said.

Kenya’s Norah Tanui took nearly 18 seconds off the meeting record in winning the women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:03.70. Germany's Gesa Krause, a faller in the World Championships final, bettered her own national record in second place with 9:11.85.

Another German runner, 20 year-old Konstanze Klosterhalfen, took the 1500m in a personal best of 3:58.92.

World javelin champion Johannes Vetter threw 89.95m to defeat a field that included fellow German and Olympic champion Thomas Rohler, second with 86.07m.

World pole vault champion Sam Kendricks extended his winning run to 12 with a best of 5.86m.

Zagreb, 29 August

Local heroine Sandra Perkovic, who had won a second world discus title 16 days earlier, rose once again to the occasion in the Croatian capital with two throws beyond 70 metres.

Her fifth-round winning effort of 70.83m was the fourth best of her career, and she finished off with 70.44m.

Sandra Perkovic in Zagreb


But Croatia’s Olympic javelin champion Sara Kolak could only take second place with 61.86m behind Canada’s Elizabeth Gleadle, who threw 63.40m.

Kenya’s 21-year-old Norah Jeruto won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:04.56.

World 110m hurdles silver medallist Sergey Shubenkov earned victory in 13.12.

The men’s 400m hurdles pitted the 20-year-old leader of the 2017 listings, Kyron McMaster, with 31-year-old Olympic champion Kerron Clement. But young Qatari Abderrahman Samba crashed the party with victory in 48.70.

World champion Tom Walsh won the shot put with 21.50m, and world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks extended his unbeaten run to 13 with a 5.60m clearance.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF